poetry readers writers

Tuesday Thoughts: Book blogging-To Tour or Not to Tour (and free stuff)

Oops, I did it again. Not really an oops, I meant to do it. This week I spent time visiting book blogs and blog tour sites. As an independent author, I spend more time looking for new ways to reach readers, marketing, and all that stuff than I do writing sometimes. Marketing is exhausting. Physically- fingers, back, and eyes, and mentally- my brain hurts after a while. Now don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a part of being an author, and I have met some really cool people and seen some great blog pages.

After my first book came out, I looked at doing a book blog tour but was overwhelmed by the choices available. Being a new author, I wanted to do things right, but as a frugal (cheap) person, I didn’t want to make the wrong decision and throw away money. One of the challenges in marketing is to find the best avenues to put your budgeted amount. Really, it comes down to finding “the best bang for your buck” (I don’t know why I put that in quotations. I suppose someone coined that phrase).

As I usually do, I over-analyze things. When flat-screen T.V.s came out, it took me two years to buy one-which in the end saved me money since the prices went from over $1000 to under $500. I still kept Mr. Cathode-Ray Tube for many, many years before becoming a full flat-screen household. Man, that guy was heavy to carry out.

But I digress.

Each blog tour I looked at had its pros and cons. One review said “Great!” while another said, “Don’t waste your money.” Like book reviews, these are all subjective, but it is still hard to part with money that may be more effective elsewhere-or not. Arrgh.  

I looked at blog tour posts on many sites. Some stops had no likes or comments. If I were to participate in a blog tour, would I be assigned stops with a decent amount of traffic? So I began to revisit book blogs. I did this last year, so I thought it was time to do it again. Is this a lot of work? Oh, yes, but I think the time spent is worth it. I mentioned earlier that there are many avid readers doing their part to spread the enjoyment of the written word. I am glad that people are willing to spend time informing their followers of all the excellent works out there, especially from indie authors.

What is the main thing I am looking for in a book blog? Engagement. If my book/book review is featured on a site and there are no comments, can we assume that no one saw it? Books need to be talked about. Not dissected, just discussed. Out of ~100 book blogs I visited, less than ten had actual conversations about the featured books. You know who you are because I emailed you to compliment you on your blog (and ask to be featured, of course). Some bloggers may not want that level of engagement, which is OK too.

Which got me thinking about engagement on my pages. I write to entertain, to put into words what others may not be able to, to share my experiences, and to show my love of writing. So, for a limited time, I’m going to let anyone download my sample copy of my poetry book without an email/newsletter opt-in. The only caveat is that we discuss the poems or writing process. I’ll set up a page for that purpose.

Sounds like a plan? I hope so!

Download: Excerpts from the book – Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures

humor readers thoughts

Read the Movie or Watch the Book

From inner dialogue to background information, many elements are going to be missed as a book is transformed into a movie. It is a challenging art form to do justice to a piece of literature. It is exciting to know that your favorite book is going to come to life on the movie screen (I don’t know if they are silver anymore). It can also be disappointing since other’s visions can greatly differ from your own. We all have our idea of what the characters and setting should look.
When I was young, I wasn’t familiar with actresses and actors, so it wasn’t difficult to believe that they were the characters that were portrayed. Case in point (and I know Star Wars is not a book but hear me out), Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher will always be Han, Luke, and Leia to me. When a book comes to life with a famous person a role, it does make it that much harder to accept them as that character. Not impossible, but just a bit more work.
The setting is not going to be exactly as you picture it. It could be close, or it could be way off. It is fun to see high-definition scenery compared to fuzzy mental pictures. It was a bit disjointed though, to see the Hogwarts grounds change between films.
I try to read the book before seeing the movie and I never get my hopes up. Here are some of the hits and misses in my opinion:
The Martian: As I was reading the book, I kept thinking, “This is written like a movie”. I could be wrong, but I think the author wrote this with a movie in mind. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I enjoyed the book.
Mars looked as close as it could. I’ve seen so many pictures (I’m a space/astronomy buff) that for me it would be difficult to make it completely convincing. My question is: Why is Jason Bourne there? I thought he did a good job.
Ready Player One: If you’ve read my previous ramblings, you know that I’ve read this book a few times. I was excited when the movie was announced. I didn’t recognize the actors, so that was good. Some of my favorite parts were omitted and others made just for the movie. That was fine, a few more topical ideas allowed it to reach a younger demographic. I heard a complaint that there was too much CGI (ummm, it took place mostly in a virtual world, what did you expect?).
The Hunger Games (the first one): Visually it was very close to what I imagined. Woody from Cheers was odd at first, although he grew on me.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: If I hadn’t seen “The Office” (UK), Martin Freeman would have been perfect. He was very good in this role and I quickly forgot the previous character. Set wise, it was close to my vision… I’m glad they stopped at one movie though.
Dune: Not even going to go there…
Field of Dreams: I admit I saw the movie first. It was quite a while later that I read Shoeless Joe. A few things were different, the reference to J.D. Salinger was changed, but overall, it was true to the book. It was also refreshing to see Darth Vader in civilian clothes.
The Lord of the Rings: Three long books, three 2 1/2 hour movies. There were so many scenes left out, but I understand the reason (5+ hour movies?). Visually it was stunning. Jackson picked perfect locations and I couldn’t fault any of the choices. A few recognizable actors, but that didn’t detract much. I thought the effect of the Ents was a bit cheap though.
The Hobbit: Short book, three long movies. Should have thought harder for the LOTRs. Hey, there’s that guy from The Office again (it was a good choice).

World War Z: The book was not what I was expecting, having picked it up after several seasons of The Walking Dead. But I was great book. The movie was not what I expected, after reading the book. To be fair, if the movie was exactly like the book, it would have been a yawner.

The Bourne Identity: Again, here is a book that I read much later. The book is very different from the movie, so it is difficult to compare. I liked them both.

The Chronicles of Narnia: My favorite book series as a kid. Each of the movies so far have been well realized. The actors that were chosen, look very close to what I imagined. Liam Neeson has a great voice, but I wish I didn’t know him. Side note: I always took pride in knowing-and obnoxiously correcting- that The Magician’s Nephew was the first book. Boy, was I an ass.

There are more that I could talk about if I could remember them. What movies would you add?